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Tagged: predictions

The Future of Banking in 2017 – and What it Means for the Customer Experience

January 26, 2017

2017 outlook and predictionsIn this season of annual meetings and strategic planning, those with a 30,000-foot view on banks and credit unions are predicting what the year will bring. Some of these predictions are fueled by polls and studies, while others come from the informed instinct of seasoned experts. Having served the financial services industry with quality customer research for 30 years, CSP is interested in how these predictions could impact the customer.

So let’s review some of what the experts foresee for banks and for customer experience trends across industries, through our own unique lens:

“Banks will open 1,000 new branches, with an emphasis on the right location.”
– David Kerstein, BAI Banking Strategies

Our Take: The influx of digital channels has had banks questioning the relevance of the branch for years now. As banks reassess and update their branch placement, they will need to look to their customer data to evaluate how the new locations are serving the customers, both new and current, now using those branches. Brick-and-mortar branches aren’t dead, but the successful banks will be the ones who optimize the in-branch experience around customer needs.

“CEOs will exit at least 30% of their CMOs for not mustering the blended skill set needed to drive digital business transformation, design exceptional personalized experiences, and propel growth.”
– Forrester’s
2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer

Our Take: As we’ve reported before, more and more CMOs are finding themselves saddled with the responsibility for the customer experience. While not a traditional marketing function, new research unequivocally proves customer experience to be not only a decisive factor in brand identity, but also in differentiation within the marketplace. An alternative would be the fairly novel position of CXO – Chief Experience Officer – but the point remains that this person would need the left-brain/right-brain balance of data analysis and experience design expertise.

Consumers will take more control of their financial relationships and will look for digital tools for advice and insight. Banks will come to realize that fintech is not a threat, but rather an opportunity.”
– Bryan Clagett, CMO at Geezeo (
as reported by Jim Marous at the Financial Brand)

and

“One product that will likely receive greater attention in the next year is digital personal financial management (PFM). As customers develop higher expectations of their banks, reporting basic account data is no longer enough. Today’s banking customers are in greater need of financial advice than ever, and internal data silos prevent banks from providing effective and personalized guidance.”
Rob Guilfoyle of Abe, a customer service AI for financial institutions

Our Take: Customer loyalty is all about that relationship-building.  Digital tools and advances in artificial intelligence add convenience and responsiveness to daily transactions. That said, customers still like to talk to real live people when it comes to more complex money matters. That means understanding both the uses and the limits of automation and AI. Fintech-enabled solutions should seek to bridge the gap between software and staff, providing customers a direct and convenient channel to a trusted advisor.

And let’s not forget that a great customer experience starts with the employee experience:

Creating a culture of continuous feedback will be top priority for organisations and is being driven by millennials’ expectations for regular, ongoing feedback and the increasingly fast-paced business environment.  Adopting tools that enable people to receive regular feedback from different sources, such as peers, customers or multiple managers for instance, will therefore become more and more important for boosting engagement among the growing millennial workforce and improving overall productivity.”
– Sylvia VorhauserSmith of PAGEUP, an HR solutions provider

Our Take: Regardless of what generation the majority of your employees were born into, transparency and trust are essential to a healthy workplace environment. Any manager who is charged with giving employees feedback on their performance must be willing to take feedback, too, and to use it constructively for the benefit of the whole team. That’s the kind of leadership that builds a healthy and productive company culture. Smart employers will have structured systems in place to allow for this multi-directional feedback, as well as training and development programs to foster leadership. (Hey, we know a thing or two about that…)  


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What Influential Trends will Drive Financial Service Customer Experience in 2015?

December 15, 2014

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Banks are catching up to their customers, and specifically, how those customers access their products and services. The unprecedented diversity of channels customers see today is influencing how banks allocate resources to each channel to align with evolving customer expectations.

In December, BAI released its latest Banking Strategies Executive Report, brimming with interviews and opinions from thought leaders and retail banking executives from around the country. You can request your own copy of the report from the BAI website, but for those short on time, here are some of the highlights:

Omnichannel Strategies that Revolve Around Mobile

As mobile devices become more central to consumers’ everyday lives, so too has the mobile channel taken a central role on the omnichannel stage, which makes sense: mobile is perhaps the most omni of all channels.

Devices can be used practically anywhere, and for a number of different purposes – checking balances, depositing and transferring funds, searching for information, calling a branch or customer support line, leaving reviews on consumer-facing sites like Yelp, and following a bank’s social media feeds.

Mobile will continue to be a key area of focus in 2015, but more importantly, banks will need to grasp how this channel intersects with and influences others, and how customers move between all of them.

“People are not migrating solely from one channel and leaving another one behind. […] The branch continues to be a significant channel for even the most technologically-savvy customers.”
David L. Stein, Executive VP and head of consumer and commercial banking for Associated Banc-Corp

The adoption of mobile among consumers could have banks looking at mobile solutions for their business customers, too, such as payments and remote deposits. B.C. Krishna, President and CEO of MineralTree, Inc, notes that “the vast majority of B2B payments still tend to be manual, paper-based, ad-hoc, check-oriented transactions” that cost money to process. Could 2015 be the year we see that start to shift?

Personalized Experiences Based on Data

It goes without saying that no two customers are exactly alike, and now, financial institutions have access to the data to help paint a fuller picture of each individual.

But it’s not the data itself that matters, it’s what you do with it. In 2015, banks can use this customer intelligence to deliver a customer experience that not only seamlessly flows between channels, but recognizes each customer’s unique needs.

In fact, through the rise of predictive analytics, banks have more capacity to anticipate these needs and be proactive in offering solutions to each customer – perhaps before the customer themselves has identified a need. Consider this the Small Data within Big Data.

Not only does personalization contribute to the customer experience and to loyalty, it could be a competitive differentiator as consumers gravitate to the providers who best suit their unique needs.

“Many banks have made strong steps towards customizing customer experiences, particularly on mobile and in social media, but not all banks are as far along as they could be.”
Simon Mulcahy, Senior VP Financial Services at Salesforce.com

Refinements on the Frontline(s)

A lot of the data, mobile development, and analytics we’ve discussed so far are things happening in the background, but lest we forget, the frontline of customer service is one of the key direct experiences a customer has with your bank.

“Employees in the frontline environment of the retail bank are important because the frontline largely impacts the customers, and as a result, can influence results – positively or negatively,” warns Malysa O’Connor, director of financial services at Kronos, a workforce management solutions provider.

These days, the frontline isn’t always the teller behind the counter or the rep on the phone. As customers connect to their banks through other channels, like social media, every bank’s training efforts, methods, and materials will need to continue to evolve in order to maintain alignment, not only with customer expectations, but company culture.

 

CSP is thrilled to see our clients forward into the New Year and guide them as they navigate these up-and-coming challenges and opportunities to create the best customer experience.

To keep up with current developments in retail banking and customer experience management, don’t forget to follow @CSProfiles on Twitter.

Mid-Year Check-in: Technology Driving Customer Experience Trends

August 6, 2014

With 2014 just a little over halfway behind us, it’s an ideal moment to step back and take a big-picture view of customer experience management as a discipline, to see what forces are coming together to influence customer expectations and best business practices for driving loyalty.

Without a doubt, technology continues to provide both the incentive and the tools to improve customer service across all channels.

Consumers are usually faster to try, adopt and master new technologies than businesses are. Few organizations were prepared for the mobile explosion, and even now, several years into the “smart device” age, many are still catching up to what consumers have come to expect.

It’s not just the mobile platforms themselves that merit attention. Because of them, consumers have grown accustomed to new habits and behaviors – swiping and tapping instead of pointing and clicking, cameras that do much more than snap a photo, and thumbprint-based identification, to name a few.

Suddenly, a typical ATM interface feels about as sleek, sophisticated and modern as an Atari.

This shift in customer expectations and behaviors outside the walls of your business is one of this year’s major motivators to be proactive in improving the customer experience.

On the other side of the technology coin, though, is data. All of these interactions across the different channels produce an abundance of information that enterprises can use to identify, measure, and track the key drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Leadership and shareholders alike are beginning to see voice of the customer research as a must-have, enabling them to turn all this data into action steps like customized employee education programs and initiatives to align the organization’s sales approach with the overall culture.

Basically, they are realizing what we at CSP have touted for decades: The better the understanding of the customer at the enterprise level, the better equipped the enterprise is to deliver the optimal experience at every touchpoint.

It seems simple, but it takes the right combination of tools, resources and expertise to create the bridge from research to results. While the marketplace at large is showing more proactive interest in the voice of the customer, there’s still a lot of room for improvement over the rest of this year and beyond.